The JVP yesterday dismissed Minister Susil Premjayanth`s assertion that talks between President Mahinda Rajapakse`s government and the JVP collapsed due to their fault.
Severely criticising the government over Saturday`s telecast of a live question and answer session with the participation of President Mahinda Rajapakse and several Cabinet ministers, the JVP mainly challenged Premjayanth`s claim that the government accepted 18 out of the 20 proposals forwarded by the JVP as a prerequisite for joining the Rajapakse administration.
The JVP said that their proposals were sent to the government on August 5 last year. According to the JVP, the SLFP responded in a statement dated August 17 and contrary to Premjayanth`s assertion the SLFP accepted only a few proposals.
The JVP emphasised that the SLFP rejected several important proposals, including the two critical demands, abrogation of the Ceasefire Agreement and to end the Norwegian role in the peace process. The JVP accused the SLFP of side-stepping several other proposals, including the de-merger of the Eastern Province from the North on the basis that it would be subjudicae.
A JVP spokesperson accused the government of trying to paint a wrong picture of the circumstances leading to the collapse of SLFP-JVP talks and the subsequent political alliance with the UNP.
The JVP challenged Premjayanth`s claim that the SLFP agreed to restrict the number of Cabinet Ministers to 25. In fact, the JVP had called for a 30-member Cabinet of Ministers, an equal number of Deputies and an assurance that any other portfolios would not be created to appease members. The JVP also emphasised the need to make Cabinet appointments on what the spokesman termed as a scientific formula. The SLFP Central Committee, while accepting the principal to reduce the number of Cabinet Ministers emphasised that the right of the President to appoint the Cabinet should not be challenged, the JVP pointed out.
The JVP said the government should not have expanded the Cabinet. `We offered our support without taking any portfolios,` the spokesman said. He faulted the President for failing to put a ceiling on the Cabinet, when appointments were made after the last presidential election.
The JVP also challenged Premjayanth`s claim that the President wrote to Karu Jayasuriya regarding a government-UNP alliance after the collapse of negotiations with the JVP. The JVP claimed that the government initiated talks with the UNP in September while negotiations were continuing with the JVP. Government-JVP talks collapsed on October 3, the spokesman said.